Pune: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Sunday said it was an insult to Lord Ram that people were being killed in his name as he hit out at the spate of lynchings in the country.
“What have we seen in the past six years? It started with the killing of Mohsin Shaikh in Pune. Then, Mohd Akhlaq was killed because he was reportedly carrying beef. However, it was reported later that it was not beef. Even if it was beef, who gave anyone the right to kill a person?” he asked.
The Congress leader, who was speaking at an event in Pune, added: “Pehlu Khan had the licence to carry a cow in his lorry for dairy farming, but he was also lynched to death. One election result gave so much power to such people that they do anything and kill anyone?”
Rebuking those who indulge in such activities, Tharoor said he was a Hindu “but not of this kind”. “Is this our Bharat? Is this what Hindu Dharam says? I am a Hindu but not of this kind. Also, while killing people, they are asked to say ‘Jai Sri Ram’. It is an insult to Hindu Dharma. It is an insult to Lord Ram that people are being killed using his name.”
The BJP’s idea of Hinduism is a “political ideology” and does not have any connection with Hinduism, the Congress leader said.
Tharoor, who is a strong critic of the Modi-led government, said the prime minister deserves respect when he visits foreign countries as India’s representative, but when he is in the country, people have the right to question him.
On the row over a common language for India, the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala said he was in favour of a three-language formula (promoting multilingual communicative abilities).
Amid a heated debate over his remark that Hindi should be a common language, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said he has never asked for imposition of Hindi over native languages in the country but advocated its use as the second language.
On Friday, Tharoor had said the space for dissent in politics had shrunk dramatically in 2019 compared to 1962. He made the remark weeks after facing wrath of his party’s state unit for endorsing party colleague Jairam Ramesh’s warning last month that demonising Prime Minister Narendra Modi all the time and not recognising his work will not help the party.congr
Talking of the alleged shrinkage of space for dissent in politics with TV commentator Karan Thapar at an event here, Tharoor also said the anti-defection law has made elected representatives mere “rubber stamps” of their parties.
“A leader in 1962 had challenged former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s unfortunate statement on Aksai Chin that not even a blade of grass grows there. Pointing to his baldpate, the leader had told Nehru not a single hair grows on his head either. So, are you going to give it too to China? said Tharoor, referring to the well-publicised reaction to Nehru’s statement.